Sonia Chapman reports …
Eventing is definitely a sport where when you are on a high, your confidence soars and so do your results. Piggy French is currently on a complete crest of a wave after yet another weekend of exceptional results at Rockingham. You may need all your fingers to count the results, so 5 wins, two seconds, a third and a fourth. Piggy’s weekend started with a one two in the CCI2*S Section A on the Lancer Studs First Lancer and Cooley Lancer, where First Lancer’s dressage score of 20.6 could never be bettered. Third place in section A went to Chuffy Clarke and Fernhill G, who coincidently was ridden last season by Susie Berry who is based at Piggy’s yard.
The next two wins came courtesy of the CCI3*S sections, in Section C Brookfield Quality, following up on his CCI2*S win at Chatsworth from the week before. Made more impressive due to Piggy only picking the ride up at the end of April from Harry Meade. The third international win was with Calling Card in CCI3*S Section D. Just for good measure Piggy also came 4th in Section C with Highdown March.
Kitty King and the super consistent Le Lion 6-year Champion from 2018, finished second in Section C. Cristal Fontaine jumped an immaculate double clear and was one of only two to finish on his dressage score, in the massive section of 97 competitors. This horse has been awesome this season completely three CCI3*S classes finishing 1st, 2nd and 3rd each time finishing on his dressage score. Short odds must surely now be given for this horse mounting a good attempt to claim the 7-year title at Le Lion this year.
Section C CCI3*S also incorporated the Junior National title which was won by Georgia Bartlett and Spano de Nazca, Georgia reported on her Facebook page;
“So, thrilled with my brilliant Nono. He was such a superstar ? yesterday at Rockingham winning the Junior Championships by over 5 penalties and also coming 3rd/97 overall in the 3* section! Couldn’t believe it when I was looking at past winners of the trophy that my Mum’s name was engraved on it from 32 years earlier (Katie Wybrew)!! “
William Fox Pitt and Georgisauraus came closest to Piggy and Calling Card in the dressage in Section D, posting a 25.7 to Piggy’s 25.5. However, William could not match Piggy’s speed cross country, although William went faster than he thought he had.
Piggy may well be the envy of many event riders at trot ups for the remainder of the season, not only for her horsepower but for the three pairs of gorgeous footwear provided by Rockingham title sponsor, Fairfax & Favour for the winners of each of the international sections. So good job Jess Rimmer and Mounttemple Mistress for claiming the remaining CCI2*S. Jess thanked her mother for being top groom rather than top jockey over the weekend as Jess had stolen all her horses!
Piggy however did fail to claim the Loomes Championship a watch worth nearly £9,000, the watch is awarded to the rider closest to the optimum time on the cross-country course in the Advanced Intermediate or Open Intermediate classes. Despite 4 attempts to be closest to the optimum time, which did net the Open Intermediate on Graf Cavalier and the Advanced Intermediate on Cooley Monsoon Piggy was pipped at the post. Both Piggy and Austin O Connor (second in the Advanced intermediate on Colorado Blue) finished dead on the optimum time, so the result was decided on the show jumping time. Which favoured Austin, who was generous enough to allow wife Amy the Loomes watch due the fact he had already won one back in 2014!
Riders were very appreciative of all the effort put into Rockingham, providing a great atmosphere in the main arena and even more so of the effort put into changing the direction of the cross-country course after 6 years.
Rockingham had a record number of entries in The Pony Club show jumping on Saturday, with 128 teams from 31 different branches competing for the overall branch prize of a fantastic £500 training bursary, generously donated by Spillers. After a very closely fought contest, our winners for 2019 were the Cottesmore Branch who were delighted to receive their prizes from none other than, Spillers sponsored rider, William Fox-Pitt.
Images courtesy of Hannah Cole Photography